Three regional vet labs in the firing line in Department review
Regional Veterinary labs in Kilkenny, Limerick and Sligo are believed to be in the firing line in a review by the Department of Agriculture of its laboratory services.
It recently emerged that the Department has tasked a working group, led by Prof. Alan Reilly, and comprising senior officials with undertaking a review of its laboratory services, including both its Central Laboratory complex in Backweston, Co. Kildare and its network of Regional Laboratories in Athlone, Cork, Kilkenny, Limerick and Sligo.
The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said that a cost-benefit analysis will inform future decisions by his Department into the future of its Regional Laboratories.
According to informed sources, Laboratory services in Kilkenny, Limerick and Sligo are most at risk of closure or amalgamation under the review.
The review has sparked anger in the farming community.
The Chairperson of Kilkenny ICMSA, John Robinson said, farmers all over the South East regard even the prospect of closure or amalgamation as an inexcusable degradation of a vital piece of agri-infrastructure at precisely the time when the region’s farmers and critically important food production sector needs reassurance and support.
Kilmanagh farmer, John Robinson, led a demonstration that met members of the Review Group as they arrived at the Leggetsrath facility to protest against the threatened closure and point out that in the event of the closure going ahead, local farmers would be expected to travel to Dublin or Athlone to avail of the next nearest laboratory.
Mr Robinson said the idea that one of the state’s foremost food production areas and one of Europe’s most intensive dairying districts would be left without an official veterinary lab was, as he put it, “mind-boggling” and he promised that ICMSA would resist any efforts to reduce further the number of regional vet labs which now stood at a paltry six for the whole state.